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What are colon polyps?

A polyp in the colon is extra tissue that protrudes into the inside (or lumen) of the large intestine (colon), but typically is due to excess of the lining (epithelium). They vary in size from microscopic to several inches in diameter. 

What are the symptoms?

Typically there are no symptoms unless the polyps are large. However, patients may experience blood in the stool, constipation or diarrhea.

The Risks of Having Polyps

The greatest risk is that some types (primarily adenomas) may become cancerous. As adenomas grow in size,the chance of the growth can eventually make a transformation to maximize. 

Another type of polyp is hyperplastic polyp that has essentially no malignant potential and a sessile serrated adenoma, carries a risk for the development of colonic cancer. 

How common are polyps?

For patients who arc 50 years old, which is the recommended age for screening with a colonoscopy, the incidence is approximately 25 percent. The rate increases to 50 percent by age 70.

What causes polyps? 

There is a hereditary predisposition to getting polyps. If family members have polyps. physicians strongly recommend that first-degree relatives (parents. siblings, children) have a colonoscopy at age 50 or earlier. Physicians believe that diet plays a role in the development of polyps. People on low tiber, high fat, high meat diets are more likely to have colon polyps. 

How are polyps diagnosed? 

Colonoscope use a thin flexible tube that has a light and a tiny video camera. The physician uses these to look at the last third or entirety oft he large intestine, respectively. 

Because it is not possible to reliably distinguish the different types of polyps by looking at them with a colonoscope alone, biopsy samples (or complete removal) of polyps arc usually taken by the gastrointestinal physician. 

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